Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2014 (Revised March 2014)

SAP 2014: Reaching for the Cloud

by Karim R. Lakhani, Marco Iansiti and Noah Fisher


In May 2014, Bill McDermott will become the sole CEO of SAP AG, the world leader in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) field. The case occurs in January 2014 at SAP's investors meeting, at a time when the company's stock is near record high. A 2010 strategy committed the company to a transition to cloud computing. The main driver behind this transition was the development of SAP HANA, an in-memory computing technology that combined database, data processing, and application platform functionality. Ownership of cloud infrastructure was a key question. SAP could build, own, and operate its own data centers, or partner to locate SAP HANA and other products with other cloud infrastructure providers, such as Amazon, Microsoft, or IBM. McDermott also had to make decisions around the organization and leadership of the company's cloud efforts.

Keywords: information technology; Cloud Computing; platform; strategy and execution; strategy and leadership; enterprise resource planning; software; Information Technology; Technology Platform; Information Technology Industry; Germany;


Lakhani, Karim R., Marco Iansiti, and Noah Fisher. "SAP 2014: Reaching for the Cloud." Harvard Business School Case 614-052, January 2014. (Revised March 2014.)